The majority of Belgians are unaware that diesel at the pumps contains palm oil
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    The majority of Belgians are unaware that diesel at the pumps contains palm oil

    © Belga
    © Belga

    Belgians are greatly opposed to using palm oil in car fuel. However, 87% of them are unaware that diesel sold at the pumps contains the vegetable oil.

    The findings come out of a survey requested by environmental NGOs. The organisations are on Wednesday jointly launching an international campaign #NotInMyTank, against the use of palm oil in fuel.

    Belgians are not alone: the vast majority of Europeans (82%) do not know that they are putting palm oil into their tank with diesel, according to this survey produced by Ipsos, involving 4,500 Europeans in nine countries.

    Questioned upon their potential support for measures aiming to end political support and subsidies for palm oil in biodiesel in Europe, 69% of people questioned favour this change, only 14% were opposed and 16% had no opinion on the issue.

    Belgians are widely opposed to the use of palm oil in fuel: 66% are opposed, 14% are not opposed and 20% have no opinion.

    The environmental NGOs, amongst which is the Inter-Environment Wallonia Federation (“IEW”), say that the expansion of the use of palm oil in car fuel across Europe favours deforestation and the drying out of peatlands in South East Asia. The IEW goes on, “The biodiesel manufactured from palm oils has an impact three times worse upon climate than fossil diesel, which is however already harming the environment. In 2017, 51% of palm oil used in Europe ended up in car and lorry tanks. Drivers are thus the leading consumers (although they are unaware of it) of palm oil in Europe.”

    Faced with these observations, an international environmental coalition NGO launches this Wednesday with a campaign aiming to force the European Commission to implement the gradual elimination of palm oil in diesel.

    A citizen petition has been started whilst the campaign #NotInMyTank will culminate in a “European Action Day”. The day will include multiple events in Rome, Madrid, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm and Brussels at the Berlaymont building, the headquarters of the European Commission.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times